Stigma

26 Sep 2020
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We feel the sting

when suffering from a bout

of mental Ill health.

It is toxic and spreads

Throughout our life.

Spoils everything we see

tainting everything we taste

impinging on everything we hear

it is palpable.

We feel the sting

Most acutely

When we self-stigmatize.

There appears to be

nowhere to escape and hide.

It follows us into our refuge

hounding us at every move.

How can we restore

the balance of our emotions

regain our equilibrium?

We can engage in open dialogue

with those with whom

we come into contact.

Perhaps we can broach the topic

of the negative effects of stigma

on our sense of wellbeing.

How their derision

or their apparent avoidance

due to embarrassment

makes us feel

as of no consequence.

We become invisible to many

we fade from our world.

This can be the negative impact

Of stigma on us

from family, friends

and acquaintances.

Orangeblossom

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

Email us at support@moodscope.com to submit your own blog post!

Comments

Molly

Sept. 27, 2020, 1:56 a.m.

Orange, this is one of your best poems yet (for me). I can really relate to your words. I’m estranged from my family and friends. I still exchange messages with some of them, but I actually don’t want to see anyone, and the longer you don’t see people the harder it gets. The stigma angers me and when trying to explain, I don’t believe I’m heard or understood. So it’s made me quite bitter really. I’ve got to a point where it’s best not to see people and that’s very sad and unfortunate, because by doing that, you are closing yourself more in. You have summed up the effect of mental health In this poem. Loved it, thank you. Molly xx

Reply

Orangeblossom

Sept. 27, 2020, 6:06 a.m.

Hi Molly, I think that the quote from Maya Angelou may help to start to restore the balance for you. I hope so.

Orangeblossom

Sept. 27, 2020, 6:07 a.m.

Thanks for your positive comments to my blog Molly & Vintagecool.

Molly

Sept. 27, 2020, 11:03 a.m.

How strange Orange, I’ve literally just read that quote directly before reading your reply. It’s a good quote.

The Gardener

Sept. 27, 2020, 2:23 p.m.

I did not know that Maya Angelou quote, but those words have been relevant all through a difficult week. I had an excellent lunch, came home, grey, cold, here - crashed out in my lovely little single guest room, looks on to terrace.

Molly

Sept. 27, 2020, 2:40 p.m.

This is the quote for anyone who doesn’t receive the emails. Maybe every one does, I don’t know! “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” Maya Angelou Gardener, concentrate on the excellent lunch! Also ‘lovely single guest room, looks onto the terrace’. Sound beautiful xx

Vintagecool

Sept. 27, 2020, 4:05 a.m.

SB Beauty piece of poetry. It captures the feelings

Reply

Oli

Sept. 27, 2020, 8:27 a.m.

OB, your words fit a view I’ve been holding more and more recently. I am okay with who I am and how I am — it is *not me* who has the problem about me; it’s the dominant fiction in our culture that we are either normal or we ain’t. It’s a nonsense. It’s a cultural belief system and because it’s everywhere it’s invisible. See, I would *love* to write about stigmatisation which exists in a workplace but I won’t — because I’m not about to stick my neck out. The dominant belief system is upheld by people with power (as well as those without power) but the power thing is important: if I were to disclose about myself then the belief system would re-classify me from the in-group to the out-group. It’s not good being in the out-group, so I keep quiet. And I know I’m not the only one keeping quiet. But I refuse to feel stigma. I really am okay with who I am. This is not a pretence that mental health can’t be a problem, of course it can; just like physical health. But there’s no shame with it. People with power can mark me out and I have to avoid that but I see it for what it is: power and a dominant belief system which as individuals we can’t challenge without personal risk. But it’s not shame. Great blog Orange. Thank you.

Reply

Jul

Sept. 27, 2020, 9:16 a.m.

I agree with all you have said Oli. I stuck my head above the parapet at work and didn't conform. How I wish I had! I should have been confident with me as I was and at the same time gone along with the crowd. Well I'm not sure writing this that I could, thinking about it. But in the end those in power pushed me out anyway so your way is clearly the answer. Great response Oli. Thx. Jul xx

Molly

Sept. 27, 2020, 11:48 a.m.

I agree, good response Oli. Jul, I’m not sure what you didn’t conform to, but I could never go along with the crowd or keep quiet. I can think of a few examples but one that springs to mind is a temp job I was in. A 16 year old gay boy was being bullied by management. One manager in particular spoke to him like absolute **** in front of everyone. I was flabbergasted. Everyone else turned a blind eye. I didn’t actually say anything but I took him under my wing I guess. The poor boy had just left school. They got rid of me quicker than that! Molly xx

Jul

Sept. 27, 2020, 3:40 p.m.

You were very kind Molly. I hope the bullying stopped. I was an outsider at work. I felt or knew for certain I didn't fit in. I should have conformed and worn the right clothes (everyone commented on my clothes and ultimately took advantage) and just gone along with the flow but I couldn't. I should have worn suits and had my hair tied back like a lawyer. Oh well. Jul xx

Molly

Sept. 27, 2020, 5:03 p.m.

Jul, I kept in touch with him for a while, but it fizzled out. I had high hopes for him, he had a fantastic personality and his mother was an actress (quite well known locally apparently). I’m going back along time but I wouldn’t be surprised if he made something of himself (perhaps on the stage) after that awful office job. This was working for the NHS. The managers were young (low pay maybe) But they were certainly on a power trip. You were judged for your appearance? That is just outrageous. I don’t think for one moment you should have changed your style. I never felt like I fitted in. It was always a case of ‘If your face fits’. This didn’t happen in my last job as it was a small office with mainly just the three of us and a couple of helpers. But one job I had for thirteen years, in a larger environment, gosh the backstabbing!! Molly xx

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope

Sept. 27, 2020, 8:20 p.m.

Thanks Oli You reflect my own views on this issue. I am about to retire so what the workplace has to say about my personal mental health issues will soon become irrelevant for me personally. I am doing a University of Derby course called Depression: A compassionate perspective. It was a session on Stigma and how we would cope with it or how we can speak of the ill effects of stigma on those suffering depression. Among the suggestions was to write a poem. This one was the outcome.

The Gardener

Sept. 27, 2020, 8:41 a.m.

OB, I have never 'connected' with poetry in any form, but I really appreciate your sentiments. I've only been 'stigmatised' once in my life, awful. My parents had a bitter separation when I was 16. I stayed with my father, already involved with him in his business. Our small village disapproved, opinion said I should have gone with my mother. They 'sent us to Coventry'. Imagine, you get on the only bus, the 469 (still exists). Every head turns away from you. My boy-friend (later husband) had gone away to college, so no longer had his support. Have a good day you all out there. xx

Reply

Molly

Sept. 27, 2020, 2:34 p.m.

How judgemental Gardener. And sexist? How things have changed. A very difficult age for your parents to split. I know people who have waited until children are older but I think they are more resilient when younger. A teenager has enough to cope with. Then being sent to Coventry, awful xx

The Gardener

Sept. 27, 2020, 3:54 p.m.

With you, Molly. I think parents who 'stick together' in misery so the child/children don't have their education disturbed is a mistake, growing up in a miserable atmosphere is much more harmful xx

Molly

Sept. 27, 2020, 5:11 p.m.

Exactly Gardener, and the young don’t fully understand and so they adjust. My parents split when I was 8. If it wasn’t for my awful step father, I’m quite sure it would have been an easy transition Xx

The Gardener

Sept. 27, 2020, 8:50 a.m.

This is 'publicity' for Future Learn, spoken about it before. Currently doing an excellent course on 'Anxiety and Depression' from Reading University. It is stimulating, well-presented, interactive - posts are up to 1200 words. Members come from all over the world. This course is very pertinent at the moment, because people whose worries were 'minor' and could not be classified as a 'disorder' are reacting to restrictions in all sorts of ways. I mention Moodscope as often as possible (have told Caroline). For me, it is another outlet. Costs about £180 p.a for a huge range of courses (except degree).

Reply

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope

Sept. 27, 2020, 8:23 p.m.

Hi TG Many thanks for the info. As I have signed up for two interrelated courses, (both free) aim to complete them. T’other course is Mindful Emotional Coaching which is very practical & informative. it is really aimed at teachers, young parents but also helpful to mentors. Thinking of you & hoping that you have a good week ahead.

Jul

Sept. 27, 2020, 9:21 a.m.

Hello Orangeblossom. The more I read your poem, the more I like it and find it meaningful. I hope you didn't write it from a bad place. But often poems and good writing are written when low or afterwards when it's clear what happened to the writer. I particularly liked this verse. "We feel the sting Most acutely When we self-stigmatize. There appears to be nowhere to escape and hide. It follows us into our refuge hounding us at every move" Thank you Orangeblossom. Go well today and in the coming weeks with all the Covid issues surrounding Universities right now. Jul xx

Reply

Tutti Frutti

Sept. 27, 2020, 6:58 p.m.

Hi Orange Blossom and Jul I agree that particular verse is really meaningful. And of course it is a great topic to raise. Love TF x

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope

Sept. 27, 2020, 8:24 p.m.

Hi Jul thanks for your positive feedback. I do tend to wallop myself & self-stigmatise quite often.. I am not feeling too bad, but heard yesterday that a student friend who is back on campus has shown Covid-19 symptoms. The whole floor has to self-isolate. When I mentioned this to my daughter yesterday she sounded very concerned. Mostly I will be working remotely.

Daisy

Sept. 27, 2020, 9:31 a.m.

Dear orange blossom your poem and words are. Very beautiful and poignant. Stigmatism is such an invasive disease and so hurtful one hopes that things will improve with mental health being talked about more openly and more understanding

Reply

Caroline Ashcroft Moodscope

Sept. 27, 2020, 8:25 p.m.

Thanks very much for your positive feedback. I appreciate it very much.

Molly

Sept. 27, 2020, 3:13 p.m.

It’s very quiet today, where is everybody !! ?? :-) xx

Reply

The Gardener

Sept. 27, 2020, 3:56 p.m.

They probably looked out of the window and did not bother to get up. But as most people take their phones/tablets to bed with them it's no excuse!

Molly

Sept. 27, 2020, 5:18 p.m.

Ha ha Gardener! That’s one thing I don’t do. I never take my devices to bed :-) I know many that do though! Xx

Marigold

Sept. 27, 2020, 6:13 p.m.

Greetings moodscopers. Thanks for the poem OB. I sometimes just slip it into the conversation " Oh my depression is bad right now" How to clear a room eh! Ridiculous as it is very very common.

Reply

Marigold

Sept. 27, 2020, 6:13 p.m.

Greetings moodscopers. Thanks for the poem OB. I sometimes just slip it into the conversation " Oh my depression is bad right now" How to clear a room eh! Ridiculous as it is very very common.

Reply

Molly

Sept. 27, 2020, 8:42 p.m.

Hi Marigold I once had such a real bad depression, many years ago. I couldn’t get out of bed. I lived on my own then and I texted a friend desperately trying to get her to understand. I told her I felt like I was locked in a wardrobe. She never replied. I will never forget that. When I brought it up with her later, she said she didn’t know what to say. Hmmmm, could I have ignored a text from a friend saying they felt like that? I don’t bother with her much these days. That was an isolated incident of many. She simply doesn’t have time for it. She says ‘life is for living’. Hope you are doing ok, Molly xx

Lexi

Sept. 28, 2020, 12:15 p.m.

OB, I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to respond yesterday. Such a lovely, beautiful poem. Thank you so much for sharing it with us xo

Reply

Anonymous

Oct. 2, 2020, 2:24 a.m.

A good poem, easy to connect to and meaningful.

Reply

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